This past Sunday, the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade and Integration, Benjamin Blanco, brought attention to a decision made by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that has agreed to exempt the patents of COVID-19 vaccinations.
The authorities stated that this agreement will serve as a model for similar situations in the future regarding health crises.
“The approval of a patent exemption for the production of vaccines in all nations that are either developing or in the process of becoming less developed is our most significant accomplishment.” Because of this ruling, our nations will no longer be required to pay royalties to the owner of the vaccines in order to produce them, as Blanco indicated.
In an interview with Bolivia TV, he explained that this decision came after two years of insisting on it and that Bolivia was one of the first countries to make this request for the release of patents for the benefit of the population to face a joint fight against the COVID pandemic. He said that this decision came after two years of insisting on it because Bolivia was one of the first countries to make this request for the release of patents for the benefit of the population to face -19.
This agreement was signed in the context of the Plurinational State of Bolivia’s participation in the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“It has taken a long time (…) but what we have created is a precedence for future pandemics, for future global emergencies,” he explained. “It is my hope that this precedent will be followed in the event of a future pandemic.”
This exemption from patent requirements will remain in effect for the next five years, allowing underdeveloped nations to produce the anti-covid vaccine without incurring any costs related to intellectual property.
In this vein, there will be a period of time of six months to address the release of patents for COVID-19 drugs and diagnostic tests.